The first round of games from gameweek 21 in the Premier League took place on New Year’s Day. Here is what happened in the big games:
Gunners fire against the Cottagers
Arsenal recorded a routine 4-1 win over Fulham at the Emirates Stadium, to keep their top-four hopes alive.
It could have been so different for the visitors, as youngster Ryan Sessegnon missed two good opportunities in the opening stages of the game. However, the Gunners took the lead on 25 minutes. Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka controlled an Alex Iwobi pass in the penalty area before poking an effort past Sergio Rico in the visitor’s goal.
Alexandre Lacazette a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang both missed good chances before the break to extend the home sides lead. The Gunners did double their lead on 55 minutes, as Lacazette finished off a superb team move involving Iwobi, Sead Kolasinac and Aubameyang.
The Cottagers looked to be back in the game on 69 minutes as substitute Aboubakar Kamara scored a tap-in from a Sessegnon cross. That hope was short-lived, though, as Arsenal extended their lead ten minutes later through Aaron Ramsey from inside the Fulham area.
Aubameyang grabbed the fourth goal on 83 minutes as the striker’s effort took a heavy deflection before beating Rico.
The Gunners needed the win, as it moved Unai Emery’s side to within two points of fourth place Chelsea, at least temporary anyway, as the Blues host struggling Southampton at Stamford Bridge this evening. Meanwhile, the visitors remain 19th in the table and a point away from safety.
Spurs record a comfortable win over Cardiff
Tottenham recorded a comfortable 3-0 victory over Cardiff at the Cardiff City Stadium to give themselves a glimmer of hope in the fight for the Premier League title.
The visitors took the lead when Sean Morrison attempted to clear the ball only for it to hit Harry Kane and beat Neil Etheridge in the home goal. The effort was Kane’s 18th of the season in all competitions.
Spurs doubled their lead on 12 minutes with a superb team move involving Kane, Moussa Sissoko and Heung-Min Son eventually resulted in Christian Eriksen firing home through the legs of Cardiff defender Bruno Manga.
Spurs wrapped up the points on 26 minutes. Lane found Son, who found the net from a tight angle from the right side of the area. Tottenham had some half chances in the second period, but in truth could afford to take their foot off the gas and sit back.
The win means that Spurs move into second place, at least temporarily, six points behind league leaders Liverpool face a trip to champions Manchester City on Thursday night. The team from north London will still believe they can win the title, but in truth, they are major outsiders to finish the season as champions.
Cardiff are three points clear of the relegation zone in 16th place. However, the Bluebirds can be satisfied with their efforts so far this season.
Toffees come unstuck against the Foxes
Leicester recorded a 1-0 victory over a lacklustre Everton at Goodison Park in the early kick-off of the day.
The game lacked quality and the highlight of the first half was Everton’s young full-back Jonjoe Kenny rattling the woodwork with a powerful effort. The only goal and arguably the only piece of quality in the game arrived just before the hour mark.
Toffees centre-back Michael Keane miss-controlled the ball in the centre of his own half, which then saw striker Jamie Vardy seize possession race clear of Kurt Zouma and then fire low in the far corner of the net.
There was very little response from the home side, who have now won just once in eight top-flight games. The victory kept the Foxes seventh place in the table, while Everton remain tenth, four points behind the team from the Midlands.
Who produced the best Premier League performance of New Year’s Day?